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From the moment I heard about Borderlands I have been hotly anticipating it's release. The unusual marriage of a first person shooter with rpg elements (in the form of equipment collection and levelling up) that are associated with games like diablo 2 seemed right up my alley.
Although set on a ficticious world known as Pandora there are far more parallels with the genre of wild west gold rush America than Sci-Fi. Borderlands doesn't really have a story as such, you play as one of four classes with the goal of finding and opening a mysterious alien vault. The action takes place through a large number of short missions that award experience points to strengthen your character as well as equipment such as guns and shields.
The games graphics have been slated by some as far too cartoony, I found the visuals really suited the game however and although cartoony still retain a certain stylishness.
What really seperates Borderlands from the competition is the overwhelmingly large amount of guns, shields and other useful items that are scattered throughout Pandora. I've read there are as many as 1.7 million weapons in the game. That number sounds a little high to me but I can say I've personally seen what must be over 2000 different guns, I've never picked up 2 identical weapons and I'm on my second playthrough!!!
I really can't reccomend this game enough, the visuals are polished, the game mechanics are solid and rounded and the mighty haul of equipment will keep you searching for that perfect pistol or superior shield long after the first playthrough. No game is perfect and Borderlands does have it's flaws, the ending for example is disappointing to say the least and the enemy AI could be a little better.
The hallmark of a great game in my eyes is that it makes you want to overlook it's flaws and Borderlands certainly accomplishes this.
Developed by 2k games and utilising the tried and tested Unreal 3 engine, Borderlands is a game very similar in gameplay to titles such as fallout 3, in the Role playing shoooter genre.
The game primarily focuses on the shooter elements but accents this with in depth customisation options and gear upgrades to develop your character and keep you wanting more from the game. There is also vehicle mounted combat that adds a change of pace to the game when needed.
Unfortunately there are loading screens between each small map which does displace you mentally while playing, and would have benefitted from adding a seemless single map. Additionally the maps are built to guide you in one direction only and AI triggers are very easy to predict.
Visuals and Sounds
The game uses a very original cell shading style and pulls it off brilliantly. The enemy models get very repetative very quickly and could have definately used much more variety to improve the game. The scripting is very funny in areas and obviously does not take itself too seriously. As a result this makes this a fun game to play in short bursts but is not engaging enough to keep you coming back for more.
Dont get me wrong, this game is very enjoyable. Its just that it could have been so much better with minimal extra development. I would recommend this game if you can get it at a reasonable price and enjoy shooter titles, but dont spend a full £35 on it.